Mary Beth Writes

1. We bought a car!! We bought our (former) 2006 Mercury Milan and 2004 Ford Ranger around 2006-2007.  Len is a very good vehicle dad – they lasted this long. The truck is still reliably chugging along; we sold it to a neighbor. However it became apparent a few weeks ago that the Milan could no longer take care of itself. Sigh. 

We talked about what kind of car we wanted in the past few weeks. Len did on-line research, finding cars we might like to try.  We decided we would spend part of two days test-driving these several makes of cars.

Monday morning we walked into a Ford dealership – first place to check out – and the salesman next to the door pointed at a car outside the window and said it was a new “managers’ special”.  It was a hybrid car that had all the things we wanted but figured we didn’t want to afford – currently on sale for less than we planned to pay altogether. It had been one of the dealership’s loaners since October and had 2000 miles on it which dropped the MSRP by thousands of bucks.

Test drove it. Very cool! Went to a different dealership, test drove what we initially thought we wanted most – it was pricier than we expected, wasn’t a hybrid, had less options, felt smaller, and the sales guy had a weird haircut.

So we bought a 2017 Ford C-Max hybrid. Len used it for meetings yesterday. Today I’m taking it to Goodwill. Breaking it in right.

2. As I mentioned in my “Must-Haves” posting yesterday, I cooked a terrible squash-carrot soup. But - I can proudly say I am tossing out less than $3 in ingredients. A weirdly frugal win.

3. Len jis making (it smells amazing in this house) bread and also black beans. The bread is for general toast and sandwich life. The beans are for tacos tonight. If one buys discount brand beans on sale for around $.75/can - they are approximately the same price as “from-scratch”. However, when dry beans are cooked with sautéed green peppers, garlic, and onions – nothing can touch how delicious they are while being healthy and a good use of the earth’s resource.  Cooked beans also freeze well in case you didn’t know that.   I bet you did.

Made-from-scratch white bread costs less than $.50. We over-eat it just like the $4 loaves.   

4. When we moved into this house we looked at our “new” beat-up, homely, wrong-colored appliances and said to each other that we’d replace them right away.

Two years later - they are still homely - and still working.

All of our previous washing machines (three decades worth) tended to go “off-kilter.” Put a quilt or rug or too many jeans in – soon the washer clunks and bangs in the basement until someone (me) races downstairs to re-balance the load. Don’t you love it when a washer “walks” itself away from its spot and you have to shove it back?

Haven’t done that since we moved here. I’ve got this old, dinged-up washer that works so hard and so earnestly. The Mary Beth of washers?  

Newer appliances are more efficient. Still, building them requires a lot of resources and electricity. We keep using what we already have, saving thousands.

Notes on old appliances

  • Stove/oven. I use the crockpot when cooking one thing for hours. Len uses the pressure cooker. I also always bake at least three loaves of bread at once.
  • Dishwasher. Len and I realign whatever the other person has done.  This provides humor, thus saving us hundreds of dollars per year on comedy clubs.
  • Washer. 90% of the laundry gets done with cold water and homemade detergent.
  • Dryer. Dryers suck air out of a house so in the winter it is expensive to lose all that furnace-heated air. We hang as much laundry as is possible, which also adds humidity to the house.  In the summer, I use the dryer more. Outside clothes lines are great for many households, but the last few times I did this – at our old house and here in Waukesha, something teeny bit my legs (Only mine, not Len’s, not fair). Not a fan of rashes from invisible critters. 

5. I bumped a knuckle on the edge of a cupboard and it HURT! It's kinda swollen! Instead of driving to a medical clinic, I asked a friend in the chat option of Words With Friends if I needed to do anything special. Well, she IS a nurse... She said if I can move it, then don't over-use it while it heals, and also ice it.  I didn't ice it because it's too cold to ice anything. I did take the rest of the evening off to read and play more WWF.

The co-pay on medical diagnosis by virtual scrabble is very low.

Mindful Chickens? We are frugal so that our retirement savings will last as long as we do. At the same time we try to consume responsibly so that our choices have the least negative impact on our fellow humans and on our earth and its creatures.  Cheep, Cheap!

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Mindful Chickens - Plastic & Hunger 12/20/2020

I went for a walk on Wednesday and saw this mitten on a sidewalk. When I was at the same spot on Friday, it was still there, so I brought it home because it is a hand-knitted kid mitten, ya know? Any knitters out there interested in making it a mate, so that we could give it to a kid in my community or your? It's 7" from top to ribbed bottom. 

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The point of “Mindful Chickens” is to spend less money while being mindful of the environment and our human values. We can try, right?

Holy Mackerel! Mindful Chickens 12/12/2020

Yamiche and Weijia licking out the mackerel bowl this morning.

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I said I would write “mindful things” we did this week. The agenda of “Mindful Chickens” is to spend less money plus be mindful of the environment and our other values at the same time. Sometimes, one of those purposes wins over the other, but we can think before we spend, right?

1. I cut my hair. This is not a particular skill of mine, but I can do it well enough to not look like the Pittsburgh Paint Dutch boy.

Who Let the Chickens Out?

Mindful Chickens i.e., being frugal and living by our values instead of by blithering consumerism is how this blog started. Yet I seldom post lists anymore about choices Len and I make that hit that marker because I can tell from who follows me that this is not why most of you are here.

But today I have a lot of things I want to accomplish. Preparing the Light Posts takes me a long time so I am not going to do one – I do plan to be back at it Monday.

7-6-2020 Mindful QUARANTINED Chickens

(Thanks, KJR, for the funny fluffy chicken photo!) 

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

Making (a little) Sense of Medicare by Len Lamberg

Friends learned recently that they are facing imminent retirement with the accompanying medicare and insurance decisions - that have to be made now and made right. They asked how we figured out what to do. I asked Len if he could write up what he knows in plain English - and thought this would take him 20 minutes.

This took Len several hours over several days.

Our friends say this makes more sense than anything else they have read so far.

Mindful Chickens - Clucking at the Stock Market

I started this a month ago. Time flies…

Other people call them “frugal things I did lately”. I call them Mindful Chickens because they are about:

1. Being Cheap (cheap, cheep).

2. Being thoughtful about how choices affect our community and our earth.

3. Paying attention to values and values.

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